When Gov. Ivey extended the statewide COVID health order last month, she promised to lift the mask mandate by this Friday, April 9, so more people could get the vaccine and enjoy spring break and Easter before removing that protection.

“Dr. Harris and I believe more Alabamians need to get their first shot before we take a step some other states have taken to remove the mask order altogether and lift all restrictions,” Ivey said nearly five weeks ago. “Folks, we’re not there yet, but we’re getting close.”

McBurnett said she understands why the governor has decided to lift the mask mandate, but she personally has mixed feelings about it and would rather have the mandate last at least through May.

“My concern right now is with the fact that we’re coming off spring break and Easter,” McBurnett said. “After events like these, we always see a rise in cases. That’s usually two to three weeks out from an event… “I wish [the governor] had waited until May, so that we could see what the results of these get-togethers are going to be.”

She said she is also concerned about the different variants of the coronavirus spreading across the country and that lifting the mask mandate might send the wrong message to people.

“The increase in variants across the nation right now is of concern because it spreads a little faster. Even though we haven’t seen it in Alabama yet, it’s just a matter of time.

“My other concern is people think it’s over just because the mask mandate is being lifted, and it’s not [over].”

She said she will continue to encourage people to wear a mask when they’re out in public or in large groups and to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

“Those two things are what is going to keep these numbers down and keep people from getting sick and possibly dying, she said.  “All you can do is ask them [to wear a mask]; you can’t make them. It’s got to be important enough to them as an individual to protect themselves, their families and others because if they care enough, they will… I just feel we have to look out for one another just like we do if it’s a tornado or an ice storm; we have to look out for each other. ”

Marshall County Schools (MCS), DeKalb County Schools (DCS) and Albertville City Schools (ACS) recently announced they would be easing mask requirements for students or teachers once the order is lifted. MCS students and staff will still be required to wear masks indoors and when within 3 feet of another person; ACS will not require be worn except when riding the bus or inside the Fine Arts Center; and DCS will plans to lift its mask requirements entirely.

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